Many Commonwealth countries have gone through a period of conflict and many remain within the category of vulnerable states, whose economic, social and, above all, political systems require long term consolidation and stability. Post-conflict situations exist in different degrees in CLGF member countries as diverse as Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and the Solomon Islands as well as Northern Ireland; outside the Commonwealth, they also include Zimbabwe, South Sudan and Myanmar/Burma, where CLGF has some ongoing engagement.
Recent months have seem widespread discussion about the merits of the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting being held in Sri Lanka, most recently in the pages of the UK Financial Times newspaper and other media outlets.
I should start by declaring an interest many years ago I actively campaigned for improved working conditions for Tamil tea estate workers and in the 70s and 80s was a strong supporter of imposing firm economic and other sanctions on the then-South African apartheid regime.
Despite some progress in tackling poverty and meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), citizens are increasingly frustrated by the high levels of hunger, poverty, unemployment and poor economic, social and environmental infrastructure. At the same time, governments are having difficulties in meeting these demands because they lack the resources, and are removed from local needs. Addressing this calls for a new way of doing things, a new approach to development that puts localism to the fore, one that focuses on democratic local governance, local resources and social capital.